Thursday, January 31, 2008
For several years, many Dunwoody residents including myself have worked on the effort to examine if Dunwoody should become a city. Two months ago, acting not as President of the Dunwoody North Civic Association but as an individual Dunwoody resident, I officially joined the Board of Directors of the Citizens for Dunwoody. The Dunwoody North Civic Association has the duty to keep you informed on issues affecting this neighborhood yet its policy is to not take a political stand on highly political issues such as this. We are here merely to provide information and that was the reason that the DNCA board as a whole decided to incorporate a flyer from the Citizens for Dunwoody in our last newsletter. (We received a complaint that we were being biased in our delivery of the information.)
This afternoon, the House of Representatives Government Affairs Committee held a two-hour meeting to discuss and vote on Dunwoody’s request to hold a referendum on incorporation.
Fran Millar re-introduced the legislation passed by the committee last year and described the results of the updated CVI study. DeKalb County Finance director Michael Bell spoke against the bill as did several legislators from DeKalb County. Commissioner Kathie Gannon (whose district includes Dunwoody) also spoke against the bill.
Surprisingly, the Democratic opponents of the bill were quiet throughout the proceedings. The only hostility was from Jill Chambers, a Republican legislator whose home is in Dunwoody North and whose legislative district includes a small corner of Dunwoody. She challenged the CVI study, raised the fear of law suits from the county and repeatedly attempted to raise uncertainty and doubt that the new city would face unforeseen obstacles. Despite repeated assurances before the meeting that she would support the bill to allow Dunwoody citizens to vote on incorporation she voted with the opponents of the bill. As a result, the Dunwoody referendum was defeated in the committee by a single vote.
What is next? Unless some un-foreseen turn of events occurs, the legislation to allow Dunwoody residents to vote on incorporation is dead for this year. It will need to be re-introduced next year and start the process over from the beginning as new legislation.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Date: Friday, February 1, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Location: W Atlanta Perimeter
Tickets: Purchase tickets
The 5th annual "Taste of Dunwoody" will be held this Friday Night, February 1, 2008 at W Atlanta Perimeter. The evening will include tastings from over 35 restaurants, a silent auction, live music and a cash bar. This is an outstanding event, don't wait until the last minute since it may sell out.
The 2008 Taste of Dunwoody will include delicious bites from these Featured Restaurants:
- Aqua Blue
- Atlanta Coca Cola Bottling Co.
- Bruster's Ice Cream and Yogurt
- Brooklyn Cafe
- Café Intermezzo
- C'OM Dunwoody
- Divine Events Catering
- Dunwoody Tavern
- Eclipse di Luna
- Flavor Cafe Bakery
- Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
- The Fresh Market
- FUZE Beverage
- Garrison's Broiler & Tap
- Hi Life
- J. Alexander's
- La Grotta Ristorante
- Longhorn Steakhouse
- McCormick & Schmick's
- Metrotainment Bakery
- Mimi's Café
- Rita's Italian Ice
- Shane's Rib Shack
- Taco Mac
Sunday, January 27, 2008
With the help of more than 32,000 volunteers, the AARP Tax-Aide program provides free tax preparation and assistance services to millions of low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Electronic filing and online counseling are also offered by the program. The program's funding sources include the US Internal Revenue Service, AARP, and private contributions.
From February 1 through April 15th each year, the AARP Tax-Aide program offers free one-on-one counseling, as well as assistance on the telephone and internet to help individuals prepare basic tax forms, including the 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and other standard schedules.
10 Am to 4 Pm
5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
Dunwoody, GA 30338
A good friend of mine, Mr. John Arenberg works as the District Technical Coordinator for the AARP and he is also a volunteer with the AARP Tax Aide program, preparing tax returns for senior citizens and low-income taxpayers. Due to overwhelming success in recruiting volunteers for this program, John is now in need of new or gently-used laptop computers for this tax season.
Quite simply, AARP has more volunteers than computers. Rather than turn away volunteers, a few more computers could greatly increase the number of tax returns prepared. Tax season begins Feb. 1, so the need is pressing.
You can donate a laptop as a tax deductible contribution. Or you can loan a laptop temporarily for the duration of this tax season which ends April 15.
The technical requirements for the laptop in order to run our tax preparation software is:
• 2.0 GHz processor or higher
• 512 MB or more of RAM
• Microsoft® Windows XP (SP2)
• 32-speed or higher CD-ROM Drive
• Super VGA 1024 x 768, High Color/16 Bit display or better
• Ethernet port
• USB port
Please let John know if you can donate or lend him a computer for this tax season. Thank you.
John Arenberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday February 4th, 2008
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
2090 N. Druid Hills Rd N.E
Atlanta, GA 30329
Important topics to be discussed:
· Learn how to identify gangs and gang members.
· Learn basic history of some of the largest national street gangs.
· Learn valuable tips on how to keep our kids out of the gang lifestyle.
· Learn how to find out if your son or daughter is a member of a street gang.
DeKalb County Police Department - Gang Task Force
1950 West Exchange Pl.
Tucker, GA 30084
Phone 770.270.0413 – Fax 770.724.7830
MARTA will hold a public hearing on the proposed Route 132 bus service modifications on January 28 at 7 PM at the Chamblee Civic Center, to gather input from customers and stakeholders. Staff will be available to provide information regarding the proposed changes and answer any questions for one hour prior to the start of the official public hearing. MARTA regularly evaluates routes and schedules and proposes adjustments to ensure better schedule adherence and on-time performance. Final changes will be recommended based on feedback received from customers as well as service analysis.
Comments regarding the proposed modifications can also be submitted through February 5, 2008 by leaving a message at 404-848-5660, writing to MARTA’s Office of Transit System Planning, 2424 Piedmont Road, NE Atlanta, Georgia 30324-3330, completing an online Comment Card at www.itsmarta.com, or faxing comments to 404-848-5132.
Route 132 (Tilly Mill / North Peachtree Rd) is proposed to be shortened to operate between Chamblee Station and Dunwoody Club Drive. The Peachtree Road segment between North Peachtree Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard is proposed for discontinuation. Segments along Chamblee-Dunwoody Road leading to North Springs Station are also proposed for discontinuation. Route 132 is proposed to operate every 30 minutes during weekday peak hours and every 60 minutes during midday, evening and weekend hours.
Chamblee Civic Center
3540 Broad Street
Saturday, January 26, 2008
On Feb. 2, the DeKalb County School System will hold its “2008 School Choice Expo” from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm at The Mall at Stonecrest, 2929 Turner Hill Road Lithonia, Georgia 30038 on the Main Level.
Visit www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/about/schoolchoice to learn more about DCSS School Choice Options as well www.dekalbonlineacademy.org to learn about the DeKalb Online Academy. This virtual educational experience affords access to learning and achievement which are accessible anytime, anyplace, and at any pace, which reflects the desires and needs of the community.
Magnet Programs and Schools
Browns Mill Elementary School
Clifton Elementary School
DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts
Evansdale Elementary School
Kittredge Magnet School
Snapfinger Elementary School
Chamblee Middle School
Chapel Hill Middle School
Columbia Middle School
Henderson Middle School
Chamblee Charter High School
Columbia High School
DeKalb School of the Arts
Southwest DeKalb High School
Champion Traditional Theme Middle School
Edward L. Bouie, Sr. Traditional Theme School
Marbut Traditional Theme School
Narvie J. Harris Traditional Theme School
Oakcliff Traditional Theme School
Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School
Wynbrooke Traditional Theme School
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Thank you to Representative Mike Jacobs, an avid reader of this blog, for proposing the change in the speed enforcement laws allowing strict enforcement in parks which contain a playground.
At the moment state law requires law enforcement to wait until speed is exceeded by more then 10 miles over the posted speed limit before a citation can be written. For example, the posted speed limit in Brook Run Park is 15 mph but the police can not write a ticket until 26 mph. This proposal would correct this issue and also eliminate the exclusion of radar devices on hills over 7 percent grade.
I would like to thank Representatives Chambers, Millar, Levitas, Watson & Willard for co-sponsoring this important bill.
I would also like to note that the Governors Office of Highway Safety has recommended even tougher enforcement measures including eliminating the 10 mph rule completely as well as allowing double fines for speeding in school zones.
Maybe this proposal by Representative Jacobs is only the first step in making our streets safer and other safety proposals will be introduced?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Dick Williams for The Crier; Jan 15, 2008
One day before the Georgia General Assembly convened in Atlanta, the Citizens for Dunwoody unveiled an updated study of the viability of a city of Dunwoody and found overwhelming public support for their effort.
“I think we’re on track in the legislature,” said state Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), “barring some huge constitutional controversy among the governor and the two chambers.”
The state House for a third straight year will be asked to consider two bills allowing for a referendum on a city and transfer of property from DeKalb County to a new city.
In legislative debate last year, some members of the House Government Affairs Committee expressed concern that the 2005 budget figures on cities used as a comparison with Dunwoody were outdated.
Ken Wright, president of the citizens’ group, unveiled an updated study from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, presenting the data to a gathering of about 175 people Sunday at Dunwoody United Methodist Church.
In the new study, the Vinson Institute used 2006 revenue and expense figures from three new cities - Sandy Springs, Milton and John’s Creek. The full study and budget proposed for a city of Dunwoody are available at citizensfordunwoody.org.
Wright and a panel of board members of the non-profit, non-political organization showed that following peer cities could leave a new city with revenues of $18.7 million and expenses of $18.4 million. That surplus, Wright said, added to a reserve fund of $482,000 would give the city a net surplus under the same tax rates being levied by DeKalb County government.
The Vinson Institute study suggests that a tax increase would not be necessary. In addition, Wright noted, the proposed city charter specifies that if an elected city council were to seek a tax increase of more than one mill above the current rate, a referendum would be necessary.
Wright said that nothing has changed in the legislation since last year. The updated study simply uses 2006 revenue and expense figures from comparable cities.
If the legislation passes the state House and is signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, a referendum would be held July 15. If citizens approve incorporation, a major and six city council members would be chosen September 16 and the city of Dunwoody would begin operations December 1.
Asked for a show of hands on support for a city, those in attendance at the meeting were almost unanimous. One resident opposed the city and three said they had not made up their minds. The rest supported incorporation. That was a higher rate of support for a city than was shown in a similar show of hands last January when the city had 90 percent support, with 10 percent opposing.
A city of Dunwoody is proposed to have two full-time code enforcement officers contrasted with what amounts to a half-time officer now assigned by the county. The city’s police force would staff four full-time patrols in Dunwoody. Currently, the DeKalb Police Department’s North Precinct provides three patrols shared with the rest of the county.
Under the properties bill, the North Precinct would be transferred to Dunwoody while the city would help pay for a new precinct south of I-285 to serve the parts of unincorporated DeKalb now served by the North Precinct. Four parks also would be transferred to Dunwoody.
Wright and Robert Wittenstein pointed out that while public schools would remain under the control of the county Board of Education, a city would have an indirect impact on the schools through zoning and land use.
As for the financial impact on DeKalb of Dunwoody becoming a city, the new study shows a net loss to the county of $5.2 million per year.
Wright and Wittenstein pegged that amount to be two-tenths of one percent of the county’s operating budget.
“They like to say that a city of Dunwoody would be stealing Perimeter Mall,” Wright told the group, “but all sales taxes stay with the county.”
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Students and Parents, mark your calendars.
You don’t want to miss this opportunity!!!
For: Teenage Students and their Parents
When: Monday, February 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Dunwoody High School
(Students and Parents will attend in separate locations)
What: Ignorance is No Defense AND The Council on Drugs and Alcohol
This seminar for students and parents will explain “Georgia laws to teenagers in easy-to-understand language”.
One of our speakers, “J. Tom Morgan, a highly respected former prosecutor and experienced trial lawyer, provides straightforward information and valuable insights to help teenagers avoid violating the law and avoid being victims of crime.” Mr. Morgan is author of Ignorance is No Defense, A Teenager's Guide to Georgia Law.
For a preview, see his website: http://ignoranceisnodefense.com/
Chuck Wade, the President for The Council on Alcohol and Drugs for the state of Georgia, will discuss the dangers of substance abuse. Mr. Wade, the State Director of “Drugs Don’t Work in Georgia” has 15 years of experience as a police officer and undercover narcotics agent.
For more information, contact: Pam Tallmadge (email@example.com) or Linda Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Dunwoody Crier, Editorial
by: Mr. Bob Dallas
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
There are so many things that make Dunwoody a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I say this from the perspective of serving more than 10 years as the District 1 Planning Commissioner, 24-year Dunwoody resident, and father raising five boys through our public schools. Importantly, our neighbors and my kids’ schoolmates reinforce my belief that it is great people that make a place great to call home.
The question facing many of us is “Will we be able to make Dunwoody better as we face the challenges of future growth?” These challenges include a form of county government often at odds with itself, lack of impact fees, inundation of apartments, little residential planning in the Perimeter Center district, ridiculous 4 a.m. bar closing hours, insufficient public input into parks’ decisions, challenged code enforcement, and the need for more law enforcement patrols, just to name a few.
This is not to criticize DeKalb County, but to suggest that as it has doubled in population over the past 25 years, its one-size-fits-all approach may not work for Dunwoody. The fact is from fire to police to public works to development to parks to sanitation, the DeKalb County employees all want to serve the citizens well. Too often, however, the policies and management of the county prevent them from doing just that.
That is why I believe the time is now for the people of Dunwoody to consider if they want to become the citizens of the City of Dunwoody. Rep. Fran Millar and Sen. Dan Weber have worked tirelessly to define a city charter that is both politically and economically feasible. Thankfully Rep. Jill Chambers has worked hard to ensure the legislation is properly vetted and the costs and impacts a city has on every home and business owner are fully disclosed and understood.
Will the city of Dunwoody cost more? It may. Not because it will add another layer of government, but because it will provide more localized levels of government to its citizens versus the larger DeKalb County. Fortunately the proposed city has a good tax base and selected services can be contracted out, thus minimizing this impact. Ultimately the people of Dunwoody will have to balance the costs with the benefits of localized government.
Are we qualified to govern ourselves? Absolutely. While there may be startup pains in creating a new city, I firmly believe Dunwoody has an abundance of qualified civic-minded citizens. Because there is no perfect form of government, having officials closer to the people ensures a government which is more responsive to the people. Consider this; will a county commissioners’ meeting at the Maloof Building in Decatur or a city council’s meeting in Dunwoody be more responsive to your vision of Dunwoody?
Is forming a city of Dunwoody in any way abandoning DeKalb County? Absolutely not. That is akin to suggesting the cities of Decatur or Lithonia are not part of DeKalb County. However, by being a citizen of the city of Dunwoody you will have more of a say in the place you call home.
Because I believe Dunwoody is great and can be better as it grows, I believe now is the time to let the people of Dunwoody decide whether they want to become citizens of the city of Dunwoody.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
2008 Annual Meeting
Sunday, January 13th at 2 PM
Dunwoody United Methodist Church
1548 Mount Vernon Road
Directions to Dunwoody United Methodist Church
Friday, January 4, 2008
In response to an Open Records Request, the DeKalb County Department of Public Works provided me a copy of the final intersection plan for North Peachtree Road and Kings Point Circle, which serves the main entrance to the new Peachtree Charter Middle School. The plan is dated October 14, 2007, therefore it does not appear that major design changes were made to the intersection plan due to a shift in funding from one County agency to another in the final stages of the apparently heated funding negotiations.
The plan incorporates three of the five elements that I was personally hoping the intersection would have to maximize pedestrian safety and improve traffic flow. The design incorporates a left turn lane on North Bound, N. Peachtree Rd entering PCMS, cross walks with buttons to assist in crossing all lanes of traffic at the intersection and a deceleration lane for South bound traffic turning Right into PCMS.
The elements not included in the final intersection design may negatively affect the traffic flow on North Peachtree Rd at the peak times of the school. The design does not include a signal controlled, left hand turn into the school from north bound North Peachtree Rd. allowing cars to enter the facility without fighting the south bound traffic in the morning heading towards I -285. Ms. Patrece Keeter, of DeKalb Public Works stated in an e-mail, that “we” (the county) can monitor the volumes to see if the left turn warrants are met in the future and they can be added at that time.
The other item missing is an acceleration lane or an additional lane turning Right (South) out of PCMS but it does appear that the right of way will be pushed back several feet to make additional room on the street. The design also includes, new wheelchair accessible crosswalks, small turn lane islands, LED traffic lights, and a traffic sensor on PCMS property which will actuate the traffic signals leaving the property.
Now when is the start date?
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
By Cathy Cobbs for The Crier; 01/02/2008
The entrance to the new $19 million Peachtree Charter Middle School is just a few feet away from completion, but it seems miles away from being finished.
Although the school opened in August, the final piece of the puzzle, the North Peachtree entrance at Kings Point Circle, remains closed. Parents and buses are forced to use side parking lots and the much smaller Barclay Drive entrance, which essentially blocks for several hours a day the operations of a DeKalb County fire station located down the road. Parents say the area is a congested mess during drop-off and pick-up times each day.
The county and school system had been at odds as to who will bear the cost of the intersection completion and improvements, and while they claim to have solved the funding issues, recent e-mail communications indicate that the cost may be reduced to $50,000 or less in order to accommodate budgetary concerns.
An escalating level of frustration at the lack of details as well as concerns about the lowering cost of the improvements has at least one resident contemplating filing an open records request.
John Heneghan, the president of the Dunwoody North Civic Association, has a list of concerns about the project, and says he’s not getting any answers. He e-mailed a request for the specific plans for the intersection December 12 to the county’s public works department, but hasn’t heard anything.
In a letter to Patricia Pope, the school’s chief operating officer, and Ted Rhinehart of DeKalb’s public works department, Heneghan asked specifically if the plans include acceleration lanes, turn lanes, a dedicated directional light for those turning left into the school, and crosswalk controls. During the planning phase of the school’s construction, these improvements were included, he said.
“Safety of the intersection is my primary concern at this point therefore; I want to know if the final design has those features [that were outlined earlier],” Heneghan wrote. “If the intersection does not have these features, then the Dunwoody community would be interested in knowing why they have been removed from the project.”
Heneghan said he has heard several different cost estimates by various county and school officials, and said that in itself is frustrating.
“Setting up an intersection to match the money available doesn’t seem to make sense to me,” he said in an interview with the Crier.
In an e-mail from an assistant in District 1 Commissioner Elaine Boyer’s office to Heneghan, reducing the cost of the improvements was discussed.
“John Gurbal, [DeKalb County’s] director of transportation, is working with the school district’s project managers; the way they wanted the signal designed, to avoid their having to dedicate some right-of-way, was more costly than they expected,” the e-mail said. “When Traffic Engineering sent them the estimate, they asked if it could be reduced; so we’re trying to work on the cost estimate to get it within their budget (under $50,000).”
No date has been set to begin the construction, according to government officials, another detail that has parents and administrators frustrated.
“It seems like this process is taking forever, and it’s becoming a safety issue,” said one parent. “There have already been some close calls with children crossing the street in heavy traffic - something needs to happen soon.”
Neither Gurbal nor Pope was available for comment prior to the Crier’s early holiday deadline.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The North and South Dunwoody MOMs Clubs
would like to invite all interested parents to a Preschool Open House.
15 representatives from local preschools and surrounding areas
will be available to talk to parents about their preschool programs.
10:00 to 12 noon
St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church
1978 Mt. Vernon Road in Dunwoody
All Saints Catholic Church
The Day School at Sandy Springs Christian Church
Montessori School of Dunwoody
Mt. Vernon Presbyterian
North Atlanta Church of Christ
North Springs Methodist
St. Luke's Presbyterian
Sandy Springs Methodist
Weinstein School at MJCC
Winters Chapel United Methodist
Questions?? Email email@example.com
Mark & Sherrill Weihe
2514 Kings Point Drive
Dunwoody, GA. 30338